The House Ethics Committee has finally taken action against Tom DeLay, but not for the Chris Bell complaint. They admonished DeLay and two other members for actions during the Medicare bill last year.
In a lengthy report, the panel said it had determined in its investigation of allegations first raised by the lawmaker, Representative Nick Smith, a Republican, that Mr. DeLay offered to endorse Mr. Smith's son in a Congressional primary if he would support a measure then teetering on the edge of defeat.
The special four-person subcommittee that conducted the inquiry said it had "deliberated extensively" over the actions of Mr. DeLay, who is one of the most powerful members of Congress, and weighed his actions against the leadership's traditional role of trying to round up votes. The report concluded that Mr. DeLay went too far in trying to secure a victory.
"The promise of political support for a relative of a member goes beyond the boundaries of maintaining party discipline, and should not be used as the basis of a bargain for members to achieve their respective goals," the committee said, saying there was evidence to find Mr. DeLay in violation of House rules.
The panel recommended no further action against Mr. DeLay or two others it also admonished - Mr. Smith and another Michigan Republican, Candice S. Miller. The committee is considering a separate complaint against Mr. DeLay on a series of allegations made by a Texas Democrat, but it made no disclosure of its intentions on those accusations.
In a statement, Mr. DeLay said that he had not meant to violate House rules and that the panel had never ruled on this type of activity before.
"In this report the committee has provided guidance regarding a novel and very specific subject matter,'' he said. "I accept their guidance."
UPDATE: Sarah thinks this may be a sign DeLay's power in the House is slipping.
Washington D.C. The following is a statement from Congressman Chris Bell regarding the Ethics Complaint against Tom DeLay still pending before the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
"The ethical cloud surrounding Tom DeLay has quickly grown into a thunderstorm. The stench of corruption emanating from Mr. DeLay and his associates has become too pungent to ignore any longer- even in Washington.'
"Given the House Ethics Committee's own reprimand of DeLay for what amounted to bribery during the Medicare debate; the 32 felony indictments issued against DeLay aides in Texas for Delay's illegal fundraising schemes; investigations underway in the United States Senate into the unethical lobbying practices of a former Delay aide and a close Delay associate; and the overwhelming evidence of unethical and illegal behavior by Mr. Delay contained in the ethics complaint still pending; the Ethics Committee must move forward now on the pending complaint or risk losing all credibility.'
"Anything less than a full investigation into all of these matters by the Ethics Committee would signal a total failure by the committee to meet its responsibility and that the ethics process must be overhauled."
DeLay Demonstrating a Clear Pattern of Corruption and Contempt for the Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In response to last night's public wrist slap of Majority Leader Tom DeLay for his role in coercing the vote of Rep. Nick Smith on the floor of the House during the Medicare debate, Congressman Bell released the following statement:
"After the Ethics Committee publicly reprimanded DeLay for offering favors to a Member of Congress on the House floor in exchange for his vote, a very serious pattern of corruption by the Majority Leader has become glaringly evident.
Mr. DeLay's response that he "would never knowingly violate the rules of the House," is simply unbelievable. The notion that the Majority Leader and a twenty-year incumbent in the House of Representatives didn't know he couldn't bribe a Member of Congress is ridiculous and an embarrassment to this body.
Through his actions and his statement, Mr. DeLay demonstrates the contempt and indifference he holds for the integrity of this venerable institution. As the Majority Leader of the House, that is simply unacceptable.
DeLay owes his colleagues in Congress and the American people a better explanation for his corrupt, unethical actions."
Richard Morrison, Democratic candidate for District 22 released the following statement.
“The House Ethics committee is exposing the real Tom DeLay. The committee
has for the third time found Tom DeLay guilty of unethical behavior. That’s
right; the man who claims he is “the Federal government” has found he is not
above the law. In the last seven years alone, DeLay has been publicly
reprimanded three times for bribery, illegal fundraising, and threatening
behavior. And the Committee hasn’t even ruled on the most recent DeLay
ethics complaint into money laundering, abuse of office, and selling
“Yesterday, the Ethics committee publicly admonished him for trying to bribe
a fellow Member of Congress for a “yes” vote on the controversial Medicare
bill. In a classic DeLay quid pro quo move, DeLay threatened to endorse
Rep. Nick Smith’s son’s opponent if he didn’t vote “yes” on the bill. DeLay
knew the bill was bad for seniors, and bribery and threats were the only way
he could get it to pass. The time before, DeLay was reprimanded for
threatening trade associations with retaliation if they hired Democrats.
And, in 1997, he was admonished for illegal fundraising on government
“There is a pattern of corruption here, and despite the reprimands, DeLay
keeps on hammering. He tries to hide behind his lieutenants, the fake
charities and associations he creates. He thinks he’s above the law, but
it’s clear that it’s catching up with him. The real Tom DeLay is being
exposed. The real Tom DeLay doesn’t deserve to represent the people of